During the litigation, the judge addressed Assistant Utah Attorney General Jerrold Jensen: “Let’s assume that a man chooses to have intimate relationships with three different women, each of whom resided in different residences, and he has children with all of them. Would that be violative of (the law)?” Answer: “I don’t think that would be termed polygamy, because there’s no marriage.”
Suppose, said the judge, he is “married to one woman and then he has intimate sexual relationships continuing with two other women but he doesn’t make any professions of commitment to these women.”
Probably OK, indicated Jensen. “So it’s the expression of the fact that a person is a wife that makes it illegal,” surmised the judge. “Yes,” Jensen replied.
This strange policy is indefensible for a host of reasons. First, it criminalizes the mere claim to be married. Second, it doesn’t actually prevent men from having sex and children with multiple women. Third, it has been enforced almost exclusively against people who are motivated by religious faith.